IN RECENT YEARS THE ATTITUDE OF business management toward disaster recovery planning has changed. For many years, the only companies that did anything to ward off business interruption were those dependent on mainframe computers. Most organizations took the this-cannot-happen-to-us approach. Today, companies realize that a serious disaster can cripple a business.
As PCs, workstations, and local area networks (LANs) have become more prevalent, industry has also begun to realize that data center recovery plans alone are not enough. A comprehensive, corporate-wide approach, known as business recovery planning, is required.
Approaches to business recovery planning are as varied as the organizations that use them. Some recovery planners attempt to identify and incorporate into their plans every possible threat to an organization's welfare, including floods, fires, earthquakes, snow storms, terrorism, vandalism, and power outages. While this all-encompassing approach is frequently used, it can seem daunting when time is limited and resources are stretched. One organization that has taken a different approach to recovery planning is Textron Financial Corporation (TFC), the commercial financial service subsidiary of the $8-billion Textron, Inc., based in Providence, Rhode Island.
Dave Raspallo, director of receivable systems, is responsible for TFC's recovery planning effort. He says his organization tried to follow the multi-threat approach initially but found that managers were overwhelmed by the prospect of planning for every possible calamity. Instead, Raspallo devised a simplified approach that encompasses four levels of business interruption or consequences that could result from disasters, as follows:
* Level one--Building destroyed or unusable for …